Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”
For some of us, these verses are familiar and can bring an “of course!” type of response from us. “Of course, I am trusting in the Lord! I’m a Christian!” But are we really? Is it an automatic thing that because we are Christians, we are trusting in the Lord and not leaning on our own understanding?
Let’s do a word study to find out!
Starting with verse 5:
The Hebrew word for “trust” here is “batach” and it means: to trust; to have confidence in, be confident; to be secure.
The dictionary definition of trust is: to confide in; to set one’s hope and confidence in; to make secure; to be secure, to fear nothing for oneself.
The Hebrew word for “heart” here is “Lav” and it means: inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding.
The Hebrew word for “lean” here is “sha’an” and it means: to lean on; to trust in; support oneself.
The Hebrew word for “understanding” is “biyanh” and it means understanding; discernment.
The dictionary definition is: intelligence; insight and skill.
The Hebrew word for “acknowledge” is “Yada” and it means: to know; to perceive; to perceive and see; find out and discern.
The dictionary definition for acknowledge it says it is used of the will, to turn the mind (will) to something; to care for, to see about.
The Hebrew word for “direct” is “yashar” and it means: to be right; be straight; be level; be upright; be just; be smooth. It also says in reference to this verse, the meaning to be “God causes his affairs to prosper.”
What does it mean to trust the Lord? How do we know if we are really trusting? How do we know if we are leaning on our own understanding?
Let’s put the above definitions into a summary to see if it gives us further revelation:
Set your confidence and security in the Lord without fear, with all your inner man, heart, mind, will, and understanding. Do not lean on, trust in, or support yourself by trusting in your own insight, intelligence or discernment. In all your ways, know Him, turn your will to Him, and He will straighten, level and smooth out your path, causing you to prosper.
With that revealed instruction from the Lord, let’s think about the places and situations that we have been unwilling to release to God – for whatever reason. Whether it be fear, hurt, self-preservation, walls of defense, control, etc. Let Him shine His light into your heart to show those places. How will you know? You will get an uneasy feeling; a feeling of guilt, fear or condemnation arising in you. Write them down. Confess them to the Lord and repent of your lack of trust and confidence in Him to handle those things and turn your will – yielding it to Him-and ask Him for the direction, the leveling, the smoothing of your path.
Sometimes good things can become idols in our hearts and will have more say than the Lord in our lives and how we make our decisions. These idols and/or what they represent will manipulate to maintain that position of rulership by whispering things like, “God knows your heart…”; “God wouldn’t want you to be alone, or be sad, or be in pain…”; “How can you be a light to them if you don’t….”
That doesn’t mean that those things are necessarily bad, but just that they now have the say, the control over you instead of the Lord having the say and giving you freedom. You will feel bound, not free. You will feel driven, not led. Sometimes in our bondage, we can’t comprehend freedom, so we erroneously conclude we are free. That is why we need the Holy Spirit to lead us in all things and bring revelation as we sit with Him.
Here is an example from scripture: Abraham and Isaac.
When God gave Abraham the promise of a son (Genesis 18), Abraham trusted God. But then Sarah grew weary of waiting, and leaned on her own understanding, and didn’t’ trust God to ultimately fulfil His promise to them. So she gave Abraham her servant to sleep with and give him the son. To make her happy, Abraham complied.
Abraham shows he continued to trust the Lord and not lean on his own understanding because when God told him to sacrifice Isaac, the promised son, he willing did it without hesitation. Knowing that God would raise Isaac from the dead – because He is always faithful to His word and can be trusted with even the most precious things to us, like our children. Thankfully, God stopped him before he made the sacrifice and provided another offering.
The above story could have turned out differently on several fronts if Sarah hadn’t lost confidence in the Lord or if Abraham had made Isaac an idol in his heart.
As we take some time to sit with the Lord and let Him minister to us, to bring healing, deliverance and understanding, let’s humble ourselves and entrust our minds, wills and hearts to Him afresh so that He can bring the prosperity in all those areas, and more, He so desires to bring to our lives.